JERUSALEM Dec 17 Israel's Teva Pharmaceutical
Industries has entered into a joint venture with
Handok Pharmaceuticals, aiming to gain a foothold in
the $14 billion Korean market.
The agreement ends months of speculation that Teva was
interested in making an acquisition in South Korea, where the
Israeli company noted healthcare spending is expected to reach
as much as 9 percent of gross domestic product by 2015.
The move comes after Jeremy Levin, new chief executive of
the world's largest generic drug company, last week set out a
strategic plan, vowing to reshape Teva into "the most
indispensable medicines company in the world" and provide
significant value to its shareholders.
Levin said Teva's growth centred on five areas: accelerating
growth platforms, extending its global presence, engaging in
strategic business development, protecting and expanding its
core franchises and reduce its core cost base.
"Our business venture with Handok is a strategic fit for
Teva in these growth areas and aligns with our commitment to
address global medical, societal and consumer needs," Levin told
Reuters on Monday.
"Teva recognises the importance of growing in east Asia,
both for our shareholders and the patients who will benefit from
having access to our medicines," Levin said.
Teva shares, which have fallen sharply since the strategy
was announced on Dec. 11, were down 0.5 percent at 144.8 shekels
by 0955 GMT, their lowest in 12 months.
Teva will hold 51 percent and Handok will own the
rest, in a venture which will be Teva's first in east Asia
outside Japan and which is due to start operations in the next
few months. Financial details were not disclosed.
Under terms of the deal, Teva will be responsible for
manufacturing and supplying medicines, while Handok will handle
sales and marketing, distribution and regulatory affairs.
Teva said the new company's plans included selling its
branded multiple sclerosis treatment Copaxone, which has started
to face competition globally.